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Lyle Ronglien >> Slide Guitar II - Open Tunings >>

Slide Guitar for Beginners
Open Tunings - part 1

Lesson Sample

Teacher: When your guitar is tuned to an "open tuning" this means you can strum all the strings open (without using any fingers) to make a full chord. This is ideal when using a slide because the slide acts as a bar when laid across all the strings enabling you to slide to any chord without using your fingers on the frets.

Teacher: Let's start with our guitar in standard tuning: E A D G B E. In order to change this to open G tuning the strings must change to D G D G B D.

open G tuning

Teacher: The only strings that will be re-tuned are the sixth, fifth and first. The sixth and first must both go down to a D note. You can do this by ear by comparing these two strings to the fourth string. This string remains constant and will be your guide. The first should end up sounding an octave higher than the fourth and the sixth an octave lower. Now the 5th string needs to go down a whole step to G. Match it up with the third string. Here's a video clip of all this:

open G tuning

Teacher: This lesson uses 3 chords; open G, C at the 5th fret and D at the 7th fret. G can also be played at the 12th fret which is one octave higher than the open G. I'm using acoustic tonight but you can use electric too.

Chords in Open G tuning

Teacher: When I began to make this lesson up I used the traditional chord progression called the 1 - 4 - 5 in G. Then I just played around with moving from chord to chord which is what you'll learn to do. Here's a chord chart for the first riff:

chord chart - part 1

Teacher: You'll use this jam track with the first riff:

jam track - part 1

Teacher: Examine and learn the first riff. Notice you're following the chord progression with the slide.

Note: Make sure your slide is on top of the fret, not between them to be in tune.

slide on top of fret

riff 1

riff 1

Teacher: Let's change the order of the 3 chords to simply give us a new part. Here's the new chord chart and jam track. Notice the order of the chord progression has changed slightly:

chord chart - part 2

jam track - part 2

Teacher: This next riff follows new changes. It's just like riff 1 but the order of chords are different and the first chord G is played at the 12th fret:

riff 2

riff 2

Teacher: Try playing both riffs back to back. Here's a chord chart of both progressions and a jam track:

chord chart - both parts

jam track - both parts

Teacher: When you use an open tuning like this, it's a good idea to make use of the strings that have been changed like the first string. You can't get that sound with a slide in standard tuning. Notice in riffs 1 and 2 you strike the first string in almost every chord.

Teacher: I've got a couple variations for you to learn for both chord progressions.

Teacher: This next riff can be used against  jam track - part 1.

riff 3

riff 3

Rich: Are you using a pick or finger picking?

Teacher: I'm using a pick to get a louder sound from my acoustic.

roy: Glass or metal slide?

Teacher: I like to use metal, I keep breaking the glass ones.

roy: I have small fingers, do they come in different sizes?

Teacher: roy, they come in all sizes, is a good place to look at many different slides.

Teacher: Here's another riff, this time it's the alternative chord progression like you used in riff 2.

riff 4

riff 4

Teacher: If you play all 4 riffs back to back, you'll be playing exactly what is in the Lesson Sample. Every 4 measures the chord progression changes between the two different patterns.

Teacher: If you're interested in customized private lessons in any style, email me at for more info. Thanks, Lyle

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